Competing Quality Ratings for Obesity Surgery

Quality ratings for obesity surgery are in a state of change — or perhaps hot competition. A group of Michigan researchers recently and successfully persuaded Medicare that established quality ratings for obesity surgery were unnecessary. Now, that same group has published two studies showing the importance of their own quality measures in explaining serious complication rates.

One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that technical skills of bariatric surgeons vary widely and the variance explains rates of complications, reoperations, hospital readmissions, and emergency department visits.

The second one, published in JAMA Surgery, found that composite measures for profiling hospital bariatric surgery performance explain variations in complication rates and predict future performance better than some alternatives.

It’s an interesting evolution in advocacy strategy. Start by advocating to discard the established standard. Then move on to advocate for adopting your own.

We’re not so sure about the objectivity of the process, nor where such maneuvers leave vulnerable patients trying to make life-changing decisions.

Click here and here to read more in MedPage Today, click here to read the study in NEJM, and click here to read the study in JAMA Surgery.

Quality, photograph © Jason Mrachina / flickr

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